For the third year in a row, I’ve spent the past few days in Waco, TX at Baylor University. As a yankee, I hear all sorts of stereotypes about things and places Southern. But, with the exception of some rather rude treatment by a Baylor professor at the Wheaton Theology Conference a couple years ago, I have been hospitably received by all of the Baylorites I’ve met.
Mandatory college chapel services are, without question, the most difficult speaking gigs that I get. It’s tough to look out over a sea of uninterested faces and see earbuds, texting thumbs, and literally dozens of sleeping freshmen. Baylor’s no exception to that. (I will say that my experience in chapel a couple weeks ago at Houghton College was an exception — their chapel is well-lit with sun streaming in through windows, and it’s populated by faculty and staff as well as students; there was an energy in that room that I rarely experience in mandatory college chapel services. The only other place I recall that had that energy was Pepperdine (also well-lit with windows).)
But Baylor, and its affiliated seminary, Truett, is not the stereotypical “Texas Babtist” institution that you might think. Instead, Truett is more like my alma mater, Fuller — it’s evangelical, but open and moderate. I had a great lunch with the staff of the Spiritual Life office, and we were interrupted by a couple students who stopped to thank me for my chapel talk.
Last evening, Doug and I presented at an open forum, and the undergrads (not our usual crowd) were engaged and talkative.
Baylor is good people.